COVID-19, shutdown, and the leaders we need

As we shelter in place, let us consider what COVID-19 is revealing about our world, and let us consider which voices we will follow out of the enclosure. (Listen.)

When Jesus begins to talk about shepherding, most of us begin to doze off. Maybe it’s the deadening effect of a hundred Sunday School lessons, or those awful cutesy pictures of Jesus and little lambkins; maybe, it’s the sheep. Whatever it is, wake up! Because in this story of sheep, sheep rustlers, shepherds and gates, Jesus isn’t talking about farming. Nor is he talking about himself as a shepherd; that doesn’t happen until later. Instead, he’s talking about leaders—teachers, preachers, politicians, kings—and his words point to the leaders we need in this time of shutdown and beyond. Continue reading “COVID-19, shutdown, and the leaders we need”

#35: Resist false teachings

When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Watch out, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ They said to one another, ‘It is because we have brought no bread.’ And becoming aware of it, Jesus said, ‘You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How could you fail to perceive that I was not speaking about bread? Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!’ Then they understood that he had not told them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:5-12) (You may recall that Jesus elsewhere criticises the Pharisees for their insistence on ritual purity and a moralistic legalism, all the while maintaining a hardness of heart.)  Continue reading “#35: Resist false teachings”

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